Category Archives: at home

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

DSC04103This is my semi-successful attempt at making homemade liquid laundry detergent. I tried this recipe here and turned my baking soda into washing soda from this recipe. I quartered the recipe as a first go, and it was just enough to fit into an old 4 liter detergent jug. My detergent turned out a bit gloppy, and it doesn’t look really pretty, but it does the job! DSC04077 DSC04102DSC04104 DSC04116 DSC04122 DSC04132 DSC04137DSC04144

 

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Purifying Water with Charcoal

DSC04041I first learned of charcoal purification from Erin. I wanted to try it, but still had some life in our Brita filter. And then that ran out, and never replaced it. Tap water is fine! I will drink it regularly for the rest of my life. But when I did some reading on the toxins that can be in tap water that can harm our health over time, I thought I could at least give the charcoal a try. So in the name of detoxifying and minimizing waste in our kitchen, I took the plunge. The charcoal is inexpensive, recyclable and easy to use. And I did notice there is a sweet, clean taste in comparison to the original tap water.

I. BOIL FOR TEN MINUTES

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II. REMOVE AND COOL

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III. PLACE IN PITCHER, FILL WITH TAP WATER, LET SIT FOR AT LEAST SIX HOURS.

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IV. DRINK UP!

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Our Home DIYs

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These three DIYs are ones I have been wanting to do since before I had a home. I loved the simple look of a shaker coat hanger, but couldn’t find the one I dreamt of. So with a Google search and a Anthropology “W” hanger I have been treasuring since our engagement, I finally got to work and made our own. DIYs don’t always save money, but the time spent crafting something that was a design in your mind is pretty rewarding. Here are a few of our projects from the last six months.

Shaker Style Coat Hanger

Difficulty: Easy (the measuring was the most tedious)

Materials: Paint (from living room), Hangers (Home Depot, Anthro), Pine board (Home Depot), Screws

Cost: $22

Lesson Learned: measure twice ten times…hang once.

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Copper Wall Pot Rack

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: See tutorial

Cost: $37

Lesson Learned: Copper is a softer metal which cause it to bend if weighed down too much. I don’t want to test its true strength and opted out of hanging a cast iron pan.

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Side Tables

Difficulty: Moderate

Materials: Hand sander, Sand Paper, Stain Primer, Gel Stain, Wax Finish

Cost: About $40

Lesson Learned: Save your arms and strip the stain FIRST! Sand ALL THE WAY DOWN to the original wood! Don’t do this again…ever. 🙂

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Our Christmas Apartment

DSC03957Just a few shots from our perfectly imperfect apartment over Christmas. Its just the right size and I would happily raise a family of six in it just to enjoy all the corners, large windows, and the forested view.  It takes 45 minutes to clean ceiling to floor, and has willingly submitted to my regular styling and restyling. I keep chanting, “Less is more. Less IS more” in hopes to slowly achieve a minimalist and airy space. It’s pretty fun to have a space to work with. I took these pictures to remember Christmas 2014, like I did for 2013. These are fun early years.

Of course we hope you had a full and blessed Christmas with you and yours! May this New Year be full of just the right things!DSC03931 DSC03932

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What Immigration Looks Like Part 5: Family Coming to Us

DSC03918That little girl I’m holding is our first sweet treasure. Eleanor is our first niece, Charlie is our one-year-old nephew and there are two more journeying their way into our extended family into the coming year! Such precious early years. So much happening so fast, and you don’t want to miss a single story, tantrum, toddler sound, infant coo, and utterly adorable two-year-old musings. So while I’m “land locked” awaiting immigration processing, my best friend and sister came from Connecticut to visit us in Ontario for Christmas!!! How blessed we were. Here we are walking on Christmas day around where we had the best day of our lives…our wedding. We’re 18 months further into the future from that day, and in the middle of a trying immigration process, yet thankful everyday for our faith in God and his good and perfect plan for us. It is blessed assurance, and I’m not sure what we’d do without His ever-guiding peace. {E’s face says, “cold” in each of these pictures…an expression that’s hard not to wear in these parts.} Laura, thank you for making unknown months of separation not just bearable but memorable. Give our little bears hugs from Auntie and Uncle. And Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4DSC03917DSC03909DSC03903DSC03896DSC03892

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Lately

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Alas, I didn’t take any picture from our family Thanksgiving, and I’m glad for it. It took the pressure off of getting the right lighting or capturing the true moment. I, for one, am just not there with my photography skills, and it is nice to simply hold those memories in your mind and heart. It was a lovely time shared together.

Our life has been simple lately. Wake up, do our morning routine of shower, read, breakfast, make lunch, tidy. And then bundle up and head out the door, warm up the car, drop Jordan off at work, pick up a colleague to carpool. Teach for two hours, prep for two hours, run some errands or head home to make dinner. There is time in between and sometimes not. I do Pilates and cook, got out for coffee or am at church. Somehow the days are so very full and yet very flexible because of my schedule right now.

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Since I was in middle school I’ve never had a rigid schedule, busy yes, hectic, at times…but never a rigid 9-to-5-this-is-what-I-do-everyday. My sister and I were homeschooled from middle school through to our senior year, and while we did our school work in the morning, we worked as babysitters and music teachers for the better part of our teen years. College was a blissful blur. I loved it and it killed me all at the same time! And now I am working part-time doing my dream job as a college professor. I feel very blessed. I’m very glad for time to journal and pray, to serve and be available for my husband, our church, friends, and colleagues.

Only ten days until my sister and our niece and nephew come, and I am thrilled to pieces! Time to deck the halls!

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I Was Afraid To Make Bread

DSC03555This post is about homemade bread. Not because I am so thrifty and DIY. In fact, it’s the opposite. Making things from scratch kind of scared me. “I can’t do that!” or “It takes too long!” or “That’s only for the pros!” But when I made soup stock or bread for the first time I thought, “Wow, that was easy. What was the big deal.” I felt like superwoman…it was awesome.

I understand that blogging can give the appearance of being cool and having amazing abilities and talents beyond the average woman. I say that, because I’ve thought that about blogs I love and women I admire. Wow, homemade deodorant? Four kids and homeschooling? Amazing photography AND amazing food?

While I love to cook, to learn, to take my time in the kitchen, I am a novice [I’m also not a photographer but if I’m going to include photos, I try to put some effort into making it pleasing to the eye!]. So this post about homemade bread is more about saying, “You can do it!” and not here’s yet another thing you haven’t tried.

Maybe it’s not bread for you, maybe it’s paying bills or hanging those pictures…sewing that button back or knitting mittens…writing that email or learning to braid your daughter’s hair. Small things that have a huge-heart-swelling effect.

BREAD (makes one medium loaf, I double for a large loaf)

1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/2 cup warm water

3 1/2 flour

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cornmeal or flour for dusting

FIRST: In a large bowl dissolve water and yeast. Add flour and salt and mix until blended and looks shaggy. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 8 -18 hours at room temp. DSC03532SECOND: Scrape from bowl(s) and place on well-floured counter. Fold in half, lightly flour, then fold again. DSC03534THIRD: On a clean towel, lightly sprinkle cornmeal/flour and place dough on the towel. Lightly sprinkle again and place another clean towel on top. Sit for one hour. DSC03544FOURTH: Preheat oven to 475. Place a heavy dutch oven (or oven-safe pot) in for about 15 minutes while preheating. Next, carefully (it’s hot!) line with parchment paper and place the dough in the pot (see picture). Bake for 30 minutes covered, then 20 minutes uncovered. The bread is done when you knock on it with your knuckles and it sounds hollow.DSC03551FIFTH: Slice, butter, and enjoy. Slice and freeze. Or simply admire! DSC03554

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I’m Gonna Read Instead

Read InsteadI’ve seen this poster floating around the internet these days and when I have, I tell you, I’m off the internet in a flash and reading, or gardening, or creating. Because this is a wonderful message about what summer (and winter) is for. (The irony is that I had to see it on the internet to be inspired in the first place.)

Summer is the best time to read instead of internetting….facebooking….blog reading or writing…It’s the best time to be out walking…exploring…swimming…instead of being inside so much. And this is coming from a rainy-day lover! So for me, it’s either “Get out” or “Read instead”.

I hope it’s a wonderful summer for you too! What have you been up to? No wait, don’t tell me! Go outside…or start reading Harry Potter, a classic, cookbooks!

Photo credit: BOOK/SHOP

 

 

 

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Lately

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This summer has been really, really enjoyable. We’re settling into our new place and making it our own. These instagram images are a good taste of what summer has been like so far. Sweet, quiet, warm, creative. Now that I am only teaching part-time at the college I have all of Tuesday and Thursday’s to do other things. It’s wonderful to be able to spend an entire day cooking, reading, helping others, errand running. I’m grateful for this unique season of more time. Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.45.58 PM

We now have a potted garb garden with basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and lavender. Most of which I use regularly. The lavender I need to harvest (any suggestions), but I walk by, pick a bud and smush it between my fingers to enjoy it’s relaxing aromatic aromas. Mmmm…

And then I have taken on a few little DIY projects. All of which I will share once they’re done…the trick it to not bite off more than you can chew, but oh, that is oh-so-tempting! DSC03292Our homemade pizza 101 coming up!

 

 

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3 Things I’m Loving In Our New Home

DSC02874Today I Googled “what do gargoyles in front of your house represent”. Walking in our new neighborhood–our lovely, quiet, nature-surrounded neighborhood– I pass by not one, but two, homes with decorative gargoyles.

Oddly enough, I had just learned a couple of weeks ago that statues of lions in front of a home is an Italian symbol of having either paid off a mortgage or being wealthy enough to not need one. Hm.

My Google search revealed that gargoyles are not in fact the French proclamation of “Hey, everyone, we paid off our mortgage!” but rather there for the purpose of warding off evil…or acting as a water duct system to avoid damage on 21st century architecture. So, power to our gargoyling neighbors.

DSC02881Naturally, we’re still settling into our new apartment. But here are three things I love so much so far…

1) All the natural light pouring in through the large windows as I cook, grade, or fold laundry.

2) Our little table, that can transform to seat 10, and that it’s by the window.

3) A laundry room

And there is art to be hung, a pantry to be arranged, and clothing to be stored, but we love it so much! Cutting our commute in half has also relieved stress and freed up time for togetherness and enjoying these summer evenings.

All are welcome, so come by and visit!

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